From My Email: Celebrates 35 Years of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

NEWS RELEASE
NCD #10–609
November 17, 2010
Contact: Mark S. Quigley
mquigley@ncd.gov
202-272-2004

National Council on Disability Celebrates 35 Years of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act

WASHINGTON —The National Council on Disability (NCD) celebrates 35 years of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law designed to ensure a
free and appropriate public education for every child with a disability.

Prior to the law’s enactment, millions of students with disabilities were
excluded from the public school system and were denied access to a public
education. In 1975, Congress enacted and President Gerald Ford signed the
Education for All Handicapped Children Act, one of the most important civil
rights laws ever written. The central premise of this federal law, now known as
IDEA, is that all children with disabilities have a federally protected civil
right to a free appropriate public education that meets their education and
related services needs in the least restrictive environment.

According to NCD Chairman Jonathan Young , “We’re delighted to join with all
Americans to celebrate 35 successful years of IDEA and to call attention to the
6.6 million students with disabilities who have been served by this landmark
law. The future of America depends upon the ability to ensure educational
opportunities and high expectations for all citizens. NCD has long shared a
commitment to the principles of IDEA, and to the youth with disabilities served
by the protections of this law.”

“As IDEA is implemented, we must work to assure the successful transition of
students with disabilities to post-secondary or work options and that youth with
disabilities have access to the general education curriculum,” said Aaron
Bishop, NCD’s new Executive Director, who joined the agency on November 15.

In keeping with the theme Living, Learning, & Earning used at NCD’s National
Summit on Disability Policy 2010 last July, NCD is hosting a series of regional
forums across the country. The first “Learning” forum is planned for Spring 2011
at a location to be determined. The intent of the forums, consistent with the
intent of the National Summit, is to promote extensive collaborations amongst
all stakeholders and at all levels of government. “NCD is excited to embark on a
path of consistent engagement with our stakeholders,” said Anne Sommers, NCD’s
newly detailed Director of Legislative Affairs and Outreach. “We look forward to
using these forums as a venue for productive conversations that will position us
more solidly toward an action orientation.”

NCD’s goals for each of the focused forums are to:

* Identify emerging opportunities to enhance the way people with disabilities
live, learn, or earn (each forum will focus on a separate aspect of the theme
Living, Learning, & Earning);

* Establish new mechanisms, and build upon existing ones, to improve the
coordination of disability policies, programs, and advocacy efforts; and

* Energize collaborative networks to guide future disability policy directions

NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President,
Congress, and other federal officials and entities on all policies, programs,
practices and procedures affecting people with disabilities. NCD’s mission is to
further the goals enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:
equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic
self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities.

For more information, please contact NCD’s Director of Communications, Mark
Quigley , at mquigley@ncd.gov or by telephone at 202-272-2004.

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